High White Sun
In this fiery and violent new sequel to The Far Empty, even though Sheriff Ross is dead and gone, outlaws still walk free, peace comes at a price, and redemption remains hard to find. Some things in the Big Bend never change.Sometimes we have to be wolves . . . In the wake of Sheriff Stanford Ross’s death, former deputy Chris Cherry—now Sheriff Cherry—is the new “law” in Big Bend County, yet he still struggles to escape the long, dark shadow of that infamous lawman. As Chris tries to remake and modernize his corrupt department, bringing in new deputies, including young America Reynosa and Ben Harper—a hard-edged veteran homicide detective now lured out of retirement—he finds himself constantly staring down a town unwilling to change, friends and enemies unable to let go of the past, and the harsh limits of his badge.But it's only when a local Rio Grande guide is brutally and inexplicably murdered, and America and Ben's ongoing investigation is swept aside by a secretive federal agent, that the novice sheriff truly understands just how tenuous his hold on that badge really is. And as other new threats rise right along with the unforgiving West Texas sun, nothing can prepare Chris for the high cost of crossing dangerous men such as John Wesley Earl, a high-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and the patriarch of a murderous clan that's descended on Chris’s hometown of Murfee; or Thurman Flowers, a part-time pastor and full-time white supremacist hell-bent on founding his violent Church of Purity in the very heart of the Big Bend.Before long, Chris, America, and Ben are outmaneuvered, outnumbered, and outgunned—inexorably drawn into a nearly twenty-year vendetta that began with a murdered Texas Ranger on a dusty highway outside of Sweetwater, and that can only end with fire, blood, and bullets in Murfee’s own sun-scorched streets . . .Welcome back to the Big Bend . . .

High White Sun Details

TitleHigh White Sun
Author
ReleaseMar 20th, 2018
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN-139780399176357
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Crime, Detective

High White Sun Review

  • Dan Schwent
    January 1, 1970
    Two years after the death of Sheriff Ross, Sheriff Chris Cherry has another body on his hands and a gang of white supremacist bikers living in a nearby town...The Far Empty wound up being fantastic so I scooped this up when it popped up on Netgalley.The second book set in the sleepy Texas border town of Murfee packs almost as big of a punch as the first. When a man winds up dead outside a bar, Chris Cherry picks up the trail and it leads him to a family of white supremacist bikers in a nearby to Two years after the death of Sheriff Ross, Sheriff Chris Cherry has another body on his hands and a gang of white supremacist bikers living in a nearby town...The Far Empty wound up being fantastic so I scooped this up when it popped up on Netgalley.The second book set in the sleepy Texas border town of Murfee packs almost as big of a punch as the first. When a man winds up dead outside a bar, Chris Cherry picks up the trail and it leads him to a family of white supremacist bikers in a nearby town. However, nothing is as cut and dry as it seems.Much like the last book, it's the ensemble cast that powers the story forward. Chris has a mentor in Ben Harper, a widowed lawman that's Chris' right hand and a capable deputy in America Reynosa. The Earl family is a horrible reflection of the makeshift family Chris has in the Murfee PD. Aside from the undercover cop in their midst, that is...There are wheels within wheels in this one. Lots of people are lying and keeping secrets and more than one person ends up in the ground because of it. Once I got over the 50% hump, it was a hard book to put aside.Once again, J. Todd Scott did a great job with the scenery and location, making Murfee and the surrounding areas almost a character in the story. Chris Cherry, however, is probably the least interesting character in the book. If the supporting cast wasn't so rich, I don't think I'd rate this or The Far Empty as highly.The ending wound up being an even bigger trainwreck than I thought. The Murfee PD went through the flames and none of them came out without at least minor burns. While satisfying on its own, I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.While I didn't like it quite as much as The Far Empty, High White Sun was quite a read. Four out of five stars.
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  • Michelle Lancaster
    January 1, 1970
    MYSTERY/SUSPENSEJ. Todd ScottHigh White Sun: A NovelG.P. Putnam’s SonsHardcover, 978-0-3991-7635-7, (also available as an e-book and as an audio-book), 480 pgs., $26.00March 20, 2018The trouble begins with a traffic stop gone wrong, then the driver running down a sheriff’s deputy and leading most of the department on a high-speed chase across the desert on US90, just north of Big Bend National Park. The mystery begins when spike strips end the chase, and the out-of-state driver recognizes Sherif MYSTERY/SUSPENSEJ. Todd ScottHigh White Sun: A NovelG.P. Putnam’s SonsHardcover, 978-0-3991-7635-7, (also available as an e-book and as an audio-book), 480 pgs., $26.00March 20, 2018The trouble begins with a traffic stop gone wrong, then the driver running down a sheriff’s deputy and leading most of the department on a high-speed chase across the desert on US90, just north of Big Bend National Park. The mystery begins when spike strips end the chase, and the out-of-state driver recognizes Sheriff Chris Cherry’s newest deputy, America Reynosa, calling her “La chica con la pistola.”Meanwhile, when the body of a local river guide turns up beaten to death in Terlingua, the local law learns the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) has arrived in the county, awaiting the arrival of a white-supremacist “preacher” bent on race war, with plans to build an all-Anglo town. What the ABT doesn’t know is they not only have a mole in their midst, but one of them is a federal witness, an informer.Clues, oblique references, and foreshadowing eventually coalesce into a frightening picture as multiple, seemingly unrelated subplots lock into place in High White Sun: A Novel by former DEA agent J. Todd Scott, his second border noir and a sequel to The Far Empty (G.P Putnam’s Sons, 2016).Scott pulls me in immediately, excelling at the quick, hard hook. He conjures an atmosphere of pervasive menace among the ocotillo and creosote of the Chihuahuan desert, which, despite the drought, is fertile ground for literary suspense, where “summer lightning … chas[es] its own bright tail” on “the outer edge of empty.”Scott is a versatile writer. His cast of characters is large, the narrative shifting perspective constantly moving between points of view, slipping between third and first person. Chris Cherry is now the sheriff, attempting “kinder, gentler policing” because they’re “not bounty hunters, and … not in the revenge business.” But, as Chief Deputy Ben Harper reminds him, “Hope is not a strategy.” The relationship between Chris and his girlfriend, Melissa, is sweetly rendered. Scott creates an entertaining mix of personalities in Sheriff Cherry’s department, and the interactions between those personalities feel authentic, as does his depiction of the “casually dangerous” game of family dysfunction among the terrorists of the ABT. Dark, sardonic humor lends levity (“Being this close to the border should give [the ABT] hives—it was practically enemy territory”).I reviewed The Far Empty favorably in these pages in June 2016, while noting that Scott allows the tension to lapse during extended flashbacks conveying backstories meant to illuminate his many characters’ competing agendas and motivations, and that more rigorous editing would tighten the focus. Unfortunately, High White Sun also suffers from these flaws. Though more evenly paced, it lags sporadically during those elaborate backstories. Scott whips up the pace leading into the final showdown, but the climax unfolds over more than one hundred pages, again allowing tension to dissipate and the reader to relax.High White Sun is suffused with violence (and innumerable ellipses), and most people have gone a touch crazy from the heat, but it’s got soul. Scott confronts tough questions about the nature of duty, the price of peace, the possibility of redemption, the elastic definition of justice, and the cleansing properties of fire and rain.Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life.
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  • Alex Carbo
    January 1, 1970
    J Todd Scott isn't just playing a part in the Modern Western genre. He owns it. He could take anyone to a standoff and get out of it walking tall while the competition bites the dust. He is a born storyteller who will never know the meaning of Sophomore Slump. In his second novel, Scott once again shows he's a force to be reckoned with when it comes to entangling a spiderweb of intrigues and slowly connecting the dots, only to finish the reader with a punch in the gut sensation. Like the jacket J Todd Scott isn't just playing a part in the Modern Western genre. He owns it. He could take anyone to a standoff and get out of it walking tall while the competition bites the dust. He is a born storyteller who will never know the meaning of Sophomore Slump. In his second novel, Scott once again shows he's a force to be reckoned with when it comes to entangling a spiderweb of intrigues and slowly connecting the dots, only to finish the reader with a punch in the gut sensation. Like the jacket cover says: Welcome back to the Big Bend. Although High White Sun is the sequel to The Far Empty, it has a personality of its own. A feel that its predecessor didn't have. With TFE, I felt like Scott focused on the characters first, whereas in HWS, the reader can almost feel like he's part of every dark and dusty corner of Murfee and the Big Bend. Scott achieved what few can where he managed to make the setting of his novel a stand-alone character as important as Chris or Amé, making the story even richer and managing to have the reader feel rooted in that God forsaken place. The real-life experience of Scott as a DEA agent lives through the pages of High White Sun as he takes the reader inside a bound to crash Sheriff's office loaded with newbies and the occasional vet who try their hands at an ABT biker crew and a White Supremacist wannabe preacher. Meanwhile, the fifteen-year-old murder of a police officer is about to be avenged and of course, everything is connected. A Molotov cocktail mix that can only end in blood, or more blood. Sangre exige sangre.Scott's prose is lyrical and flows like a river at thaw, yet he also manages to pack the almost 500 page novel with enough action sequences to make sure the reader feels every gunshot, every explosion, every punch. Just like he was under the baking sun of Murfee, TX. With High White Sun, Scott sets the bar high for anyone willing to try his hands at the modern western genre, let alone a series. The table is set for what I hope will be a long Big Bend series and the challenge will now reside in coming up with something as good as this one. La perfección exige la perfección
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    I recently received an Advance Reader Copy of this book. I did not receive it from the publisher and I'm under no obligation to write any review. Having said that...I loved this book.It hit all the criteria I need a book in this genre to hit. Real and believable characters that make sense, including (especially) the bad guys... check. Showing me things about "the seedy side of life" that I don't ever experience in my 9-5 job... check. A plausible story that doesn't make me jump through hoops to I recently received an Advance Reader Copy of this book. I did not receive it from the publisher and I'm under no obligation to write any review. Having said that...I loved this book.It hit all the criteria I need a book in this genre to hit. Real and believable characters that make sense, including (especially) the bad guys... check. Showing me things about "the seedy side of life" that I don't ever experience in my 9-5 job... check. A plausible story that doesn't make me jump through hoops to believe... check. An ending that is satisfying, but still makes you grimace just a bit because not everything went the way you wanted it to, but was still the better, more realistic choice... check. The ability to make me stay up far later than is good for me because I just have to read one more chapter... check. (And isn't that the true litmus test of any book? If it can make you stay up late it's worth the purchase, right?)As he did in the first book, Scott offers viewpoints from several characters, although differently than before, and it works really well. Readers who may have struggled with the format of the first book should feel more relaxed with this one. I liked the fact that Scott doesn't shy away from telling the story he needs to tell yet still has the restraint to not bloat the book with meaningless, mind-numbing detail or superfluous subplots. Speaking of detail, though- Scott can create a hell of setting with his words, no doubt about it. No sophomore slump here, folks. J. Todd Scott clearly took every bit of knowledge gained in writing the first book and made his second offering even better.I can't wait until this is officially released so I can get the hardcover on my shelf.
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  • John Wintersteen
    January 1, 1970
    Tom Nolan writes this up,in his mystery column, cites the first book in the series.
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